I thoroughly enjoy entertaining, both personally and publicly. The largest crowd I ever convened was in the spring of 2000. Called “The Gala” it was the last in a series of downtown block parties in Grants Pass, Ore. Over 3,000 people attended.
For nearly two years, I worked with a team dedicated to keeping local businesses open while the couplet that runs through the heart of the city was ripped up, reconstructed and repaved. Concerned merchants needed to draw customers through the broken streets to their doors, and the noontime parties in the construction zone did the trick. The fifth and final block party celebrated the project’s completion and involved clowns, a conga line, a marching band, chairs delivered by the National Guard and 3,300 hamburgers grilled to order.
Last month when I invited author Ann Vileisis to Crescent City to give a presentation on her book, “Kitchen Literacy” I wanted her visit to evolve into more than a traditional book signing. I asked Teri and Ron from the Crescent City Farmers Market for their help. The “food event” as we called it took on a life of its own as farmers, cooks, students and friends created an indoor farmers market with a variety of offerings.